What Next For the Los Angeles Kings?
Recaps of Monday’s action following the trade deadline, the stars of the week are revealed, the Kings re-sign Alex Iafallo, the Flyers re-up Scott Laughton, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 10 games with a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche held off the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Mikko Rantanen scored twice for Colorado as they’ve won 16 of their last 19 contests. With 62 points, the Avalanche sit atop the Honda West Division and the NHL’s overall standings. The Coyotes (43 points) remain one point back of the fourth-place St. Louis Blues.
Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty netted his 300th career NHL goal as his club scored four unanswered goals to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. The Golden Knights remain four points behind the first-place Avs in the West Division.
A franchise-record 46-save shutout performance by Anthony Stolarz carried the Anaheim Ducks over the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Alexander Volkov scored two goals for the Kings. The loss leaves the Sharks (40 points) four points behind the Blues.
The Montreal Canadiens doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to snap Leafs goalie Jack Campbell’s 11-game winning streak. Montreal winger Tomas Tatar scored twice while Leafs star Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 32nd of the season. The Canadiens sit in fourth place in the Scotia North Division with 45 points, 14 back of the first-place Leafs.
Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk tallied two goals in a 4-2 upset of the Winnipeg Jets. Senators forward Connor Brown extended his goal-scoring streak to eight games. The Jets remain in second place in the North with 53 points.
An overtime goal by Brandon Hagel gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrik Laine scored twice for the Jackets, who sit eight points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Discover Central Division. The fifth-place Blackhawks, meanwhile, sit just two points back of the Predators.
The Detroit Red Wings spoiled the 1,000th career NHL game of Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal by dropping the Hurricanes 3-1. Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 37 saves as his teammates tallied three third-period goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes tied with the Tampa Bay Lighting with 58 points but the latter holds first place in the Central Division on the basis of wins.
The NHL postponed Monday’s game between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. The game is rescheduled for May 12.
NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz are the three stars for the week ending April 11, 2021.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings signed forward Alex Iafallo to a four-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contract talks between the Kings and Iafallo went through most of Monday before an agreement was reached before the 3 pm ET trade deadline. Having traded long-time veteran forward Jeff Carter to Pittsburgh, the Kings cleared sufficient cap room to keep the 27-year-old Iafallo as they continue their rebuild.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed forward Scott Laughton to a five-year contract extension worth an annual salary-cap hit of $3 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Iafallo, Laughton’s contract talks carried on until close to the trade deadline. Both players were considered potential trade candidates if their respective teams failed to re-sign them before the 3 pm ET deadline. This is an affordable signing by the Flyers, retaining a versatile, energetic 26-year-old player who could help them rebound from this difficult season going forward.
WIVB.COM: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said Jack Eichel will remain sidelined for a while. The Sabres captain has been out since March 7 with an upper-body injury. With 15 games remaining, this could be season-ending for Eichel.
THE ORANGE COUNTRY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm could miss the remainder of the season with a fractured wrist suffered on Feb. 27 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Branden Tanev could be sidelined for the rest of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators claimed defenseman Victor Mete off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.
NJ.COM: The Dallas Stars claimed blueliner Sami Vatanen off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.
THE LATEST ON TAYLOR HALL
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the New York Islanders could still be interested in acquiring Taylor Hall. The Isles were close to making a deal for the 29-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger before acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
Johnston feels the Islanders could still be interested in getting Hall out of Buffalo but there are other clubs also lurking. Some teams feel if Hall is still on the Sabres as tomorrow’s 3 pm ET deadline draws near perhaps the Sabres’ asking price will come down. He wondered if the Edmonton Oilers could be among the suitors in that circumstance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t rule anything out when you’re talking about Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. His club still has over $3 million in long-term injury reserve space to draw upon. It’ll take some salary-cap creativity but it’s possible, as we saw in yesterday’s three-team deal that sent David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Tampa Bay Lightning through the Detroit Red Wings.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet NHL insiders Mike Futa and Kris Versteeg suggesting Hall should be at the top of the Edmonton Oilers’ wish list. They feel the Sabres winger can provide the Oilers with the scoring depth they need.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think their biggest need is a skilled checking-line center who can win faceoffs. Regardless, Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’s not parting with assets for rental players, preferring those with term on their contracts. If he maintains that stance, forget about Hall coming to Edmonton at the deadline.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks ponders the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins taking a shot at Hall. He wonders if playing for a contender and skating alongside Sidney Crosby might snap the winger out of his scoring funk. Brooks also mused about the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett or New Jersey’s Miles Wood being better suited for Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are reportedly seeking more toughness up front. That’s not something Hall provides. Bennett would be a good checking-line addition if he goes into his usual beast mode in the postseason.
Brooks mentioned Wood as he suggests this might be the best time to trade him for maximum value if Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald harbors any doubts about re-signing him. Wood has a year remaining on his contract. That, however, might be a move best made in the offseason, when contract discussions can formally begin.
WILD BELIEVED TO BE INTERESTED IN NICK FOLIGNO
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets would want a first-round pick for forward Nick Foligno. The Minnesota Wild are believed among the interested parties. That move would reunite Nick with brother Marcus in Minnesota.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also weighed in on Friedman’s report, saying he’s long suspected the Wild intend to pursue Nick Foligno in the offseason if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, Russo doubts Wild GM Bill Guerin will part with a first-rounder for the Jackets captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Jackets lower their asking price we’ll have to wait until this summer for a possible Foligno family reunion.
WILL THE BLUES MOVE SCHWARTZ OR HOFFMAN?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues will set a high asking price for pending UFA winger Jaden Schwartz, making it difficult for other clubs to acquire him. He notes the Montreal Canadiens had some interest in winger Mike Hoffman before he signed with St. Louis in the offseason. He wonders if the Habs might consider Hoffman to bolster their sagging offense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues won’t move Schwartz, especially when they’re battling for a playoff spot. Hoffman, however, hasn’t been a good fit with them. Despite scoring two goals last night after being a healthy scratch from the last two games, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded. I still think the Canadiens need to shore up their left-side defense but their scoring has suffered since Brendan Gallagher fractured his thumb.
UPDATE ON THE JETS, OILERS AND FLAMES
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Winnipeg Jets intend to acquire a defenseman before tomorrow’s trade deadline. However, he doesn’t see them parting with any of their top prospects.
Other blueline trade targets could include Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks, Colin Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Jamie Oleksiak of the Dallas Stars, Sami Vatanen of the New Jersey Devils, Mike Reilly of the Ottawa Senators, Michael Del Zotto of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Michael Stone of the Calgary Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson’s the best of the bunch but he has a year remaining on his contract and the Ducks reportedly seek a first-round pick and a top prospect. The rest are pending UFAs and wouldn’t cost the Jets a top prospect or a first-rounder.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Edmonton Oilers intend to be bargain shoppers rather than big-game hunters at the trade deadline. He feels they’re looking for a defenseman and had an interest in Patrik Nemeth before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Columbus’ Michael Del Zotto could make sense.
Elliotte Friedman thinks the Calgary Flames will have a quiet trade deadline because they lack notable UFAs. Derek Ryan might draw interest from teams seeking a center while David Rittich could be enticing to teams looking for a backup goalie.
OTHER NEWS AND SPECULATION OF NOTE
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf has been linked to the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens in recent rumors. However, there’s no indication he intends to waive his no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf could change his mind between now and tomorrow’s deadline but don’t be shocked if he’s still the captain of the Ducks after 3 pm ET on Monday.
Johnston also noted the Chicago Blackhawks held forward Mattias Janmark out of the lineup yesterday. He pointed out Janmark has played well in the past alongside skilled linemates, speculating the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit as he’d be an affordable acquisition.
After trading Devan Dubnyk yesterday to the Avalanche the San Jose Sharks might not be done shopping their UFAs. Marcus Sorensen and Kurtis Gabriel could be moved. Patrick Marleau, however, could finish the season as a Shark.
Elliotte Friedman reports the Sabres have made it a priority to re-sign pending UFA goaltender Linus Ullmark.
UPDATES ON HALL, HOFFMAN AND IAFALLO
TSN: Frank Seravalli wonders if St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong might be a buyer and a seller leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. Armstrong has a history of trading pending unrestricted free agents with his club on the playoff bubble.
The Blues are also believed among the teams with an interest in Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall. Swapping out Hoffman for Hall might work if the Sabres retain half of Hall’s $8 million salary-cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong could be reluctant to part with Schwartz as he could still help the Blues clinch a playoff berth. As for Hall, Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes the Panthers could also be interested in the Sabres winger.
With over $16 million in trade deadline cap space, the Panthers are in a better position than the Blues to acquire Hall. He has a no-movement clause but might be more receptive about joining one of the top clubs in the league in the Panthers (yes, you read that right, check the standings) or a struggling one like the Blues (again, check the standings).
Speaking of Hoffman, Richards shot down the notion of a possible return to Florida. He also wouldn’t be surprised if Panthers GM Bill Zito pursues a defenseman like David Savard of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who remains atop Seravalli’s trade-bait list.
Los Angeles Kings forward Alex Iafallo moved to No. 5 on the list. Seravalli reports Kings GM Rob Blake has taken calls about the pending UFA though the two sides continue to discuss a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake’s ensuring he’s got some trade options in case an agreement on a new contract with Iafallo isn’t reached by Monday. As Seravalli said, this could go either way.
TEAMS CALLING ABOUT DEBRUSK
THE ATHLETIC: listed Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk at No. 21 on the final update to their NHL Trade Deadline Big Board. Teams continue to call the Bruins to find out what it might take to acquire the 24-year-old winger. What makes him intriguing is his playoff production.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything I’ve read and heard in the Boston media suggests the Bruins are fearful of trading DeBrusk and watching him blossom as a scorer elsewhere. I don’t dismiss the notion of a DeBrusk trade but the Bruins would probably prefer a young winger of equal or greater value and potential in return.
LATEST ON THE OILERS
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Ken Holland doesn’t intend to part with first-round picks for rental players. He didn’t rule out making that move if it was for a player with term remaining on his contract. Matheson believes that could also cost a top-prospect, which would probably be a non-starter. Given the Oilers limited salary-cap space, Holland would have to have a trade partner willing to absorb 50 percent of an acquired player’s salary.
OTHER NOTABLE UPDATES TO TSN’S TRADE-BAIT LIST
With their playoff math looking hazy, the Dallas Stars are starting to get calls about some of their pending UFAs. Big-bodied defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is drawing the most interest, moving up to No. 9 on the trade-bait list.
Seravalli also removed Tanner Pearson from the board following the winger signing a three-year contract extension this week with the Vancouver Canucks. Injuries to Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan and Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell takes both players off the list.
The latest on Taylor Hall, Jaden Schwartz, and Alex Iafallo, the Panthers could be up to something following a cost-cutting trade, plus updates on the Coyotes, Blackhawks and Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.
UPDATES ON TAYLOR HALL
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is having discussions with multiple teams regarding Taylor Hall. General managers are talking to the 29-year-old left winger’s agent wondering what a contract extension would look like.
Frank Seravalli reports the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t in the mix for Hall, though they’ll continue to monitor what the price could be for the winger leading up to Monday’s deadline. They had an interest in Palmieri and in Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund but it could be a quiet trade deadline for the Leafs.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes it could take a three-team deal or the Sabres taking on a contract or two to make a Hall trade work. That’s because few buyers have sufficient cap space to take on the winger’s contract. A team executive speculates a team could get Hall for a second- or third-round pick plus send the Sabres a contract to make it work if the winger’s still on the market by Monday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because Hall is willing to consider an extension doesn’t mean he’ll sign one. He was willing to consider an extension with the Coyotes and then signed a one-year deal with the Sabres. As for the Isles, they only have around $3 million in long-term injury reserve cap dollars available. Lamoriello would have to get creative to pull that off.
PANTHERS PLANNING ANOTHER TRADE?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Florida Panthers could make another deal or two after shedding salary yesterday in a five-time trade that sent veteran winger Brett Connolly to the Chicago Blackhawks. He feels GM Bill Zito is keeping an eye on the future but also wants to reward his club for the way they’re playing.
Zito could set his sights on potentially a top-four defenseman and a top-six winger. It’s believed he “kicked the tires” on Kyle Palmieri before he was shipped to the Islanders. Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard could be a target given Zito’s previous job as the Jacket’s assistant GM.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zito’s been busy as he also recently shipping Vinnie Hinostroza to Chicago in another cost-cutting deal with the Blackhawks. I’ll be surprised if the deadline passes and he hasn’t made a significant acquisition.
COULD SCHWARTZ OR IAFALLO BECOME AVAILABLE?
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz has popped up on his radar over the past day or so. Blues GM Doug Armstrong might be willing to move him but only for a significant return. Schwartz has a 15-team no-trade list. Pending UFAs Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak are believed to be available.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake is starting to take calls on winger Alex Iafallo. Blake and Iafallo’s representatives are still attempting to negotiate a contract extension but this could go down to the wire. Seravalli speculates the 27-year-old winger could be moved if he’s not signed before Monday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman or Bozak are more likely to be moved by the Blues than Schwartz unless somebody’s willing to overpay for the latter. As for Iafallo, it sounds like things could go either way. His situation will be worth monitoring over the next couple of days.
LATEST ON THE COYOTES
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun speculates this could be a quiet trade deadline for the Arizona Coyotes. They’re carrying nine pending UFAs, including such notables as Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Derick Brassard and Antti Raanta. With the Coyotes in playoff contention, however, it seems unlikely they’ll move them unless someone comes up with a meaningful offer for one of them.
AZ COYOTES INSIDER: In a recent interview with Craig Morgan, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said the trade rumors regarding winger Conor Garland were the result of another club calling about him. Armstrong said it leaked out but didn’t come from him. He spoke with Garland about the other club’s interest in the winger. He praised Garland as one of his core players, saying he was impressed with his play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ recent surge into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Honda West probably takes them off the trade-deadline sellers’ list. I don’t see Armstrong shopping Garland. The 25-year-old winger is his club’s leading scorer and a restricted free agent this summer so there’s no pressure to move him at the trade deadline.
UPDATES ON THE BLACKHAWKS, DEVILS AND WINGS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman remains willing to leverage his salary cap space if cap-strapped teams need help making a trade. He’s spoken to the Leafs about that several times in recent weeks as they could use a third-party broker to get a trade done. The San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings are willing to do the same.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports the New Jersey Devils might not be done dealing after shipping Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the Islanders on Wednesday. They could also shop pending UFAs Ryan Murray, Dmitry Kulikov, Sami Vatanen and Nikita Gusev.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan thinks there could be a market for lower-salaried, pending UFAs such as Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner and Jon Merrill while higher-salaried free agents such as Marc Staal, Darren Helm, Patrik Nemeth and Jonathan Bernier could be more difficult to move. Injuries to Ryan, Bernier, Nemeth and Gagner will also be a factor.
The latest on Jack Eichel, the Leafs still shopping for a forward, plus updates on Dougie Hamilton, Tony DeAngelo and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman acknowledged the trade speculation swirling about Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doubts the 24-year-old center is moved by the April 12 trade deadline. He points out a number of teams cannot afford to take on his $10 million annual average value right now.
Friedman thinks the Rangers could do it anytime they wanted but called some of the proposals out there “kinda crazy.” If the Sabres decide to trade Eichel it’ll be in the summer when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Craig Custance cited an NHL executive who believes Eichel will eventually wind up a Ranger. Another, however, felt the Los Angeles Kings would be a better match because they have the type of promising high-centers (Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte) the Rangers lack to offer up as trade bait.
Kings general manager Rob Blake has stuck to the mantra of the patient rebuild and it looks like it’s starting to pay off. He could be tempted to accelerate the process by acquiring Eichel. However, I wonder how keen he’d be to add another $10 million player to his roster with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty already on the books.
Speaking of the Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes it would be almost impossible for them to get into the bidding for Eichel and his $10 million AAV without first moving center Mika Zibanejad, who has a no-movement clause. Given Zibanejad’s struggles this season, finding a trade partner willing to gamble on him won’t be easy even if he agreed to waive his NMC.
LEAFS STILL SEEK A FORWARD
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs still want to bolster their forward lines before the April 12 trade deadline. Some speculation linked the Leafs to Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Dreger thinks there could be a fit if the Predators agree to retain some of Granlund’s salary. The Leafs have the prospects and draft picks to make something happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K of trade-deadline cap space. Granlund has over $2.1 million remaining of his $3.75 million salary for this season. No chance of a deal there unless the Preds absorb a considerable chunk of his salary or take back a contract of equal or greater value.
HURRICANES UNLIKELY TO MOVE HAMILTON
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Carolina Hurricanes and pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton have gone quiet since last month. The Hamilton camp could prefer a deal comparable to what Alex Pietrangelo received from the Vegas Golden Knights while the Hurricanes prefer something similar to what Torey Krug got with the St. Louis Blues. LeBrun doesn’t believe they’ll trade Hamilton, preferring to deal with this before the UFA market opens on July 28.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Hurricanes are all-in this year. Hamilton’s contract discussions will be set aside until the season is over.
UPDATE ON DEANGELO
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo has told the club he’s willing to accept being loaned to an American Hockey League team. He’s not welcome with their AHL affiliate in Hartford but the Rangers are willing to facilitate sending him to another club. Servalli believes it’ll take another NHL team stepping up to make that happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams were rumored to have an interest in DeAngelo earlier this season. However, that has dried up as his personal baggage made him too toxic. It’ll be interesting to see if one of those interest parties might give him an opportunity to skate below the media radar with their AHL farm team.
OTHER RUMORS OF NOTE
Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could be added to the TSN NHL Trade Bait board. He’s a pending UFA playing top-pairing minutes but there hasn’t been any contract extension talks between the two sides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list and a $5.45 million AAV. The latter could prove the more significant sticking point in any trade discussions.
Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for centers…The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are eyeing defensemen but both must monitor their expansion draft protection lists…Teams seeking goalie depth might ask the Sabres about Jonas Johansson…The LA Kings hope to re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo.